India ready to fire long-range Agni-III missiles
While some say the missile has a range of more than 3,000 km, others put its reach between 4,000 to 6,000 km.india Updated: May 14, 2006 15:13 IST
India's prestigious intermediate-range ballistic missile Agni-III capable of hitting targets more than 4000 kilometres away is technically ready for launch, according to the country's top defence scientist M Natarajan.
"We (DRDO) are technically ready for the test-firing of the missile," Natarajan, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, told a function at which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the chief guest. "We are awaiting a nod from the government," he said.
The nuclear capable surface-based Agni-III with solid and liquid propellant has never been fired and tests have repeatedly been put off since November 2004.
While some say the missile has a range of more than 3,000 km, others put its reach between 4,000 to 6,000 km. It can be deployed through rail or road mobile launch vehicles and has an inertial guidance system with improved optical or radar terminal phase co-relation capability.
This, DRDO sources said gives it a high degree of accuracy with a medium to large nuclear payload, most likely a 200 or 300 kilo tonne war head.
The DRDO has also achieved major breakthrough in making the command and control systems of other surface-to-surface missiles more sophisticated.
According to DRDO award citations, the organisation has now developed complete indigenous capability and self-reliance in the field of solid propulsion.
India had revised its estimate of when the Agni-III ballistic missile will begin to undergo testing, which was reportedly expected in 2003.
DRDO sources said some "technical problems" which had cropped up were now well under control.
They said other Agni missiles, Agni-I (700-800 km range) and Agni-II (2000 km range) had already been inducted into the Army as part of country's minimum deterrent.
These two missiles have boosters from the Indian Space Research Organisation.
But, they said Agni-III was a totally different system with an entirely new booster vehicle.
It's various system have to be extensively tested in ground test beds to establish reliability.
First Published: May 14, 2006 15:13 IST